Three more people, who were among the 363 Indians repatriated from Abu Dhabi and Dubai by special Air India flights that landed in Kerala on Thursday, have tested positive for coronavirus. With two cases on Saturday, the total cases involving those brought back from abroad to Kerala has reached five.
Kerala, badly hit by the virus initially, had managed to drastically curtail the coronavirus growth. The southern state has reported 512 cases so far, including just four deaths. With the new additions, there are currently 20 active cases.
They had tested negative at the Dubai and Abu Dhabi airports when the authorities used rapid anti-body kits before taking the flights. However, when subjected to proper coronavirus tests in Kerala, they tested positive.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan last week said he had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying it was dangerous to bring back Indians stranded abroad amid the coronavirus crisis without testing them.
“According to the central government, the people are being brought back without testing whether they have corona virus or not. This is very dangerous. There are 200 people in a flight. If one or two have the virus – this can be very dangerous for the country,” the Chief Minister had said at news conference.
“Our fellow Indians have to be brought back but it is unfortunate that internationally followed protocols are not being followed. Have written to PM that those being brought back should be tested before the travel,” he had added.
Earlier this month, the center had announced that it would start bringing back Indian citizens stranded abroad from May 7. It had said aircraft and navy ships will be used for the operation, and the passengers would have to pay for the service.
“During the journey, all these passengers would have to follow the protocols, such as the health protocols, issued by the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Civil Aviation,” the center had said in a statement.
The government had said medical screening of the passengers would be carried out. Hundreds of Indians stranded abroad have been brought back since May 7.
On Sunday, 572 people landed at Mumbai airport in two Air India flights – one from the United Kingdom with 329 people and another from Singapore with 243 people. A third flight – carrying 241 people from Philippines capital Manila – is scheduled to land tonight.
698 people from the Maldives, aboard warship INS Jalshawa, reached Kerala’s Kochi dock on Sunday. Another naval vessel – INS Magar- has reached the country to bring back nearly 200 Indians.